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Managing Influence for Power

The role of influence in our profession is underrated and undervalued. We need to get better at demonstrating the postive influence that interacting with information professionals has as well as the key value add of our profession on any organization.
The Lone Wolf Librarian pointed to this great article and quote in Business Week. It has a lot to say about librarians and specialized librarians in particular.
Effectively Influencing Decision-Makers
These eleven rules about how you can influence decision-makers to adopt your ideas will benefit your career—and the organization you work for

By Marshall Goldsmith
My favourite quote:
Peter Drucker has written extensively about the impact of the knowledge worker in modern organizations. Knowledge workers can be defined as people who know more about what they are doing than their managers do. Many knowledge workers have years of education and experience in training for their positions yet have almost no training in how to effectively influence decision-makers. As Peter has noted, “The greatest wisdom not applied to action and behavior is meaningless data.”
The paragraph above could describe the ambition of every member of SLA!
The 11 guidelines from the article (and expanded on therein) can help you do a better job of influencing decision-makers:
1. Every decision that affects our lives will be made by the person who has the power to make that decision, not the “right” person or the “smartest” person or the “best” person. Make peace with this fact…
2. When presenting ideas to decision-makers, realize that it is your responsibility to sell, not their responsibility to buy…
3. Focus on contribution to the larger good—not just the achievement of your objectives…
4. Strive to win the big battles. Don’t waste your energy and psychological capital on trivial points…
5. Present a realistic ‘cost-benefit’ analysis of your ideas—don’t just sell benefits…
6. ‘Challenge up’ on issues involving ethics or integrity—never remain silent on ethics violations…
7. Realize that powerful people are just as human as you are. Don’t say, ‘I am amazed that someone at this level…’…
8. Treat decision-makers with the same courtesy that you would treat customers—don’t be disrespectful…
9. Support the final decision of the organization. Don’t tell direct reports, ‘They made me tell you.’…
10. Make a positive difference—don’t just try to ‘win’ or ‘be right’…
11. Focus on the future—let go of the past…”
Other great quotes in the article:
“One of the most important behaviors to avoid is whining about the past.”
“Successful people love getting ideas aimed at helping them achieve their goals for the future. By focusing on the future, you can concentrate on what can be achieved tomorrow, not what was not achieved yesterday.”
“Think of all of the knowledge that you have accumulated. Think about how your knowledge can potentially benefit your organization. How much energy have you invested in acquiring all of this knowledge? How much energy have you invested in learning to present this knowledge to decision-makers so that you can make a real difference? My hope is that by making a small investment in learning to influence decision-makers, you can make a large, positive difference for the future of your organization.”
Read the whole article. Live it.
Also, Lone Wolf puts a few more links about influence in her posting.
Now is the time to have confidence in our abiliites to have a positive added value.


Posted on: June 25, 2009, 6:09 pm Category: Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. I like the part about applying wisdom to action and behavior, as well as not letting the trivial get in the way. (I am quite guilty of that, so it’s a point I need to be constantly aware of, in my own behavior and work.) Very interesting post, by the way. My brother is a college librarian, and I’m going to send him the link. A new book out, “Reinvent Your Enterprise,” focuses on Drucker’s work and his emphasis on improving knowledge work productivity. In fact, the book is endorsed by the Drucker Institute. The system outlined in the book can not only help knowledge-based companies improve, it can also help people achieve personal goals better and faster. The book not only includes extensive research, it also has practical applications, which makes it incredibly useful.

  2. In case the link above didn’t work, for info on “Reinvent Your Enterprise” — great book! — see